Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Lenine: Brazilian Planetary Music

 Lenine: Brief Profile
& Extended Discography

by Chris McGowan

Lenine's music fits, more or less, into MPB, Brazil's broad category that encompasses the eclectic popular music that followed bossa nova (MPB = Música Popular Brasileira), but the singer-songwriter has suggested that in his case the acronym stands for "Música Planetária Brasileira" (Brazilian Planetary Music). His polyglot world music can evoke a dusty public square in the hinterlands of Pernambuco, where a cantoria singer ties together the latest news in improvised verse, or a lonely outpost somewhere else in the solar system.

Lenine's songs seamlessly weave together rock, digital effects and the rhythms, instruments and poetic inflections of his hometown Recife. He shifts between being a lyrical, reflective troubadour and a rocker who vigorously plucks and strums an acoustic guitar, seeking a "dirty sound" full of overtones and syncopation. With the guitar, Lenine has invented a rousing funky beat that defies boundaries. Sometimes, Lenine veers into mangue beat territory with aggressive songs that combine samples and filters with strains of northeastern genres like maracatu and embolada. Or he may mix electronic effects with gentler folk styles—he describes one of his tunes as a cyberpunk ciranda (ciranda is a circle dance and song form from Pernambuco). And he can evoke Peter Gabriel with soulful vocals, driving rhythms and strong bass lines. While Lenine carries Recife within him, he is a musical gypsy, at home in the Northeast, in Rio de Janeiro, and in foreign lands.

All the while, his lyrics are full of humanitarian sentiments and a romantic futurism informed by authors like Ray Bradbury. His words reference both contemporary reality in Brazil and images from science fiction. Lenine is a prolific songwriter whose work has been recorded by many leading Brazilian artists, a performer who frequently appears on others' recordings, and an in-demand arranger and producer. His own albums, which he toils on for long periods, appear about every two to four years. He is a musician's musician in Brazil and considers himself a craftsman. He is as popular in France as in Brazil and has appeared at WOMAD and many other festivals in Europe.

In 2004, Lenine was invited by the Cité de La Musique in Paris to participate in their "Carte Blanche" project. For his performance, Lenine invited Cuban bassist Yusa and Argentine percussionist Ramiro Musotto. The resulting live album Lenine InCité won Latin Grammy awards for Best Brazilian Contemporary Album and Best Brazilian Song—for "Ninguém Faz Idéia" (Nobody Has a Clue). Another live album, Lenine Acústico MTV (2006) won the Best Brazilian Pop Album award again. And on Labiata (2008), an album of original works, he won the Best Brazilian Song once more for "Martelo Bigorna."

Lenine was nominated for a 2015 Latin Grammy award for Carbono, and won in the Best Brazilian Song category with "Simples Assim" (with Dudu Falcão).

More: read the full profile of and interview with Lenine in The Brazilian Music Book

Lenine Extended Discography


Baque Solto (with Lula Queiroga). Polygram, 1983.
Olho de Peixe (with Marcos Suzano). Velas, 1993.
O Dia Em Que Faremos Contato. BMG, 1997.
Na Pressão. BMG, 1999.
Falange Canibal. BMG, 2002.
Lenine In Cité. BMG, 2004.
Acústico MTV. Sony/BMG, 2006.
Breu: Ballet Para o Grupo Corpo. Grupo Corpo, 2007.
Labiata. Universal, 2008.
Lenine.Doc Trilhas. Universal, 2010.
Chão. Universal, 2011.
Triz (Dance Soundtrack). Grupo Corpo, 2013.
Carbono. Universal, 2015.

Select Recordings of Lenine Songs
(in Brazil unless otherwise noted)

Fernando Abreu. "Jack Soul Brasileiro." Raio X. EMI, 1997.
Badi Assad. "À Gandáia das Ondas." Rhythms. Chesky (U.S.), 1995.
_______. "Acredite ou Não," "Distantes Demais." Wonderland. Edge/Deutsche Grammophon (Germany), 2006.
Sérgio & Odair Assad. "O Silêncio das Estrelas." A Brazilian Songbook. GHA Records (Belgium), 2005.
Batacoto. "Virou Areia," "Camaleõ." Batacoto. Triloka (U.S.), 1993.
Maria Bethânia. Maricotinha. Sony Music, 2001.
_______. "O Velho Francisco." Oásis de Bethânia. Biscoito Fino, 2012.
_______. "Nem Sou, Nem Lua, Nem Você." Noite LUZiDIA: Maria Bethânia e Convidados. Biscoito Fino, 2013.
Ana Carolina. "Todas Elas Juntas Nem Só Ser." Ensaio de Cores Ao Vivo. Sony, 2011.
Zélia Duncan. "Pré-Pós-Tudo-Bossa-Band." Pré-Pós-Tudo-Bossa-Band. Universal, 2005.
Josee Koning. "Lua Candeia." Bem Brasileiro. Coast to Coast (U.S.), 2007.
Ivan Lins. "Se Acontecer." Acariocando. EMI, 2006.
MPB4. "Virou Areia." Sambas da Minha Terra. Som Livre, 1991.
Tim Maia & Os Cariocas. "Amigo do Rei." Amigo do Rei. Vitória Régia Discos, 1995.
Ney Matogrosso. "Mais Além." Olhos de Farol, Polygram, 1999.
_______. "A Balada do Cachorro Louco." Vivo. Universal, 1999.
Daniela Mercury. "Só no Balanço do Mar. Sol da Liberdade. BMG, 2000.
_______. "De Qualquer Lugar." Sou de Qualquer Lugar. Epic, 2001.
_______. "Meu Plano." MTV Ao Vivo: Eletrodoméstico. BMG, 2003.
_______. "Que Baque É Esse." Carnaval Eletrônico. BMG, 2004.
Mestre Ambrosio. "Benjaab." Mestre Ambrosio. Independent, 1996.
Zizi Possi. "Olho de Peixe." Mais Simples. Polygram, 1996.
Quinteto Violado. "Leão do Norte." Visão Futurística do Passado. Independent, 2001.
Elba Ramalho. "A Roda do Tempo." Popular Brasileira. Polygram, 1989.
_______. "Miragem do Porto." Encanto. Universal, 1992.
_______. "Que Baque É Esse." Paisagem. Polygram, 1995.
_______. "Leão do Norte." Leão do Norte. Ariola/BMG, 1996.
_______. "Lavadeira do Rio." Flor da Paraíba. BMG, 1998.
_______. "Leão do Norte." Solar. BMG, 1999.
_______. "Lá e Cá." O Grande Encontro 3. BMG, 2000.
_______. "Rua da Passagem." Qual O Assunto Que Mais Lhe Interessa? Atração, 2007.
O Rappa. "Óia o Rapa." Rappa Mundi. WEA, 1995.
Maria Rita. "Lavadeira do Rio." Maria Rita. Warner, 2003.
_______. "Cirando do Mundo," "Sem Aviso." Segundo. Warner, 2005.
Monica Salmaso. "Tuaregue e Nagô." Trampolim, 1998.
Dionne Warwick. "Virou Areia." Aquarela do Brasil. Arista (U.S.), 1994.
Xangai (with Quinteto da Paraíba). "Miragem do Porto." Um Abraço Pra Ti Pequenina. Kuarup, 2007.

Lenine is interviewed in:

(Kindle edition for Kindle, iPad, Galaxy, iPhone, Android, Mac and PC)

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